So many little milestones occur in the early stages of your child’s life. They say their first word. Your little one walks for the first time. They even learn how to spell and write out their name. Experiencing these milestones is such a gift. Another milestone no parent wants to miss out on is seeing their child get their first tooth. Of course, this is something to celebrate. However, it also means more responsibility is yet to come. For instance, the parents must now take their child to their first pediatric dentist appointment. After the initial visit, which happens by the age of one or within six months of their first tooth erupting, how often will your child need to visit the pediatric dentist? You have the question; we have the answer.
How Often Do Kids Need to Visit the Pediatric Dentist?
The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that children, like most adults, visit the dentist every six months. That’s only twice a year, folks! Dental visits might seem to take a while, let alone, can be inconvenient at times. In reality, they generally don’t take much more than a half-hour. Not to mention, the little time a child does spend at the dentist can truly make a difference in the short and long run.
During these vital dental visits, dentists will ensure your child’s tooth and jaw development is on the right track. In addition, they will verify that there aren’t any cavities or other abnormalities present. If such abnormalities are found, the dentist will then make recommendations or suggest treatment options to resolve the situation at hand. And, lastly, your child’s pediatric dentist will clean your little one’s teeth as clean as a whistle. Think of it as a deep cleaning that your kiddo’s toothbrush can’t do alone. We all need a deeper cleaning every now and then!
How Important is a Child’s First Dental Visit?
You might know how vital it is for your child to visit the pediatric dentist, but what makes their very first visit so special, you wonder?
Well, for an infant who hasn’t yet gone to the dentist, this first visit plays a prominent role. Imagine not knowing the true standing of your child’s oral health. You might concern whether or not you’re caring well enough for your infant’s gums and teeth. Or, maybe your family has a genetic oral health problem that you worry your infant will also develop. It’s these anxieties that can be cleared up with a pediatric dentist as they can perform exams and visual inspections to determine what’s really going on in your kid’s mouth. It feels so good to get these worries cleared up.
So, really, your child’s first visit is the perfect way to verify that everything is going smoothly thus far. It’s also a great way to get early oral treatment if your child needs it. This can surely give them a good head start in the world of oral health.
What Happens During an Infant’s First Dental Visit?
As a child yourself, you probably remember what went on during at least some of your pediatric dental appointments. You might recall both the good and the bad. However, you likely don’t recall what happened during your very first visit to the pediatric dentist. Allow us to remind you of what goes on.
First things first: the meet and greet. Your child’s pediatric dentist will want to introduce themselves to your little one and let them know what the dentist is all about. Especially if your child has dental anxiety, the pediatric dentist will want to give your child the impression that the dental office has a calm, positive ambiance.
Next, the dentist will have a peek inside your son or daughter’s mouth. Your child might only have one a few visible teeth at this point. Regardless, during their first visit, the dentist will be interested in ensuring these are healthy so far. It won’t take long, but it’s important that they do this! Your child’s baby teeth do, in fact, matter, even though they do happen to “just” be temporary.
During this appointment, you’re also welcome to address any concerns or ask any questions about your child’s teeth. The pediatric dentist can feed you with the advice you require to ensure your child’s teeth and gums stay spectacular under your care.
What are the Benefits of Going to a Pediatric Dentist vs a Regular Dentist?
We should note that taking your child to any licensed dentist is better than not taking them to one at all. However, there are perks to taking your kid to a pediatric dentist versus a regular dentist.
Typically, regular dentists and family dentists have patients that are in their teen years to their adulthood years. This doesn’t mean they can’t take younger children. However, younger children are not, per se, their specialty.
On the other hand, pediatric dentists only see children and infant patients. In addition, when in dental school, future pediatric dentists’ coursework is geared more around early oral health and its initial stages of development. So, in turn, they’re more knowledgeable when it comes to children’s teeth and gums. Even better, pediatric dentists tend to be more patient, gentle, and understanding of children’s tendencies and behaviors. (There’s nothing worse than taking your hyper or anxious child to a dentist that isn’t too keen on making accommodations to make them more comfortable. Your child deserves a dentist who cares and understands!)
How to Make Your Child’s Pediatric Dentist Visits Better
At some point, every child should visit the pediatric dentist. However, not every child is enthused about attending their dental visits. Probably most children are terrified, uncomfortable, or at least annoyed with going to the dentist, if anything. You’ll soon realize this after you take your child to their very visit pediatric dental visit.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can help make your children’s pediatric dental visits so much better. In turn, they will be faster and go a lot smoother. As a result, your child will have more positive associations with upkeeping their oral health.
Try the following to instill positivity into your kid’s pediatric dental visits:
- Have your child watch cartoons or child-friendly videos online about the benefits of going to the dentist.
- Tell your child that they will receive a small prize at the end of their dental visit. (Most pediatric dentists give toys or stickers to children for doing a good job at their dental appointment. Or, parents can always give their own little treat to their kiddos after their visit.)
- Introduce anxiety-calming tactics into your child’s life. Get them involved in deep-breathing exercises, meditation, and/or mindfulness activities.
- Warn your son or daughter about the potential of getting cavities (without making them too fearful). Mention that the dentist can make sure they don’t have any and can help if they do have any.
- In the event that your child has severe anxiety, bring this up to the pediatric dentist. They might just have a solution of their own.
In the end, taking your child to the pediatric dentist is important if you wish for them to have healthy gums and teeth. Making their first (and every visit afterward) enjoyable is an integral step for them to achieve and maintain good oral health.